The technical unit (UV Teknik) of the Archaeological Excavation Department (UV) of the Swedish National Heritage Board (RAÄ) conducted in autumn 2006 georadar and magnetometer measurements in and around Ales Stenar.
Neither the results of the georadar nor the magnetometer measurements support the theory that the stone setting was a calendar building or a sun dial. However, the results of the geophysical measurements can not be used to disprove the calendar theory either. The purpose of the archaeological prospection survey was to map subsurface structures at the site. A number of archaeologically and historically interesting structures and anomalies has been successfully mapped. The idea that the soil around Ales Stenar is free of other stones has been disproved.
The following statement made on 2007-07-22 in Sydsvenskan (http://sydsvenskan.se/skane/article253448.ece
) does not present the results correctly: ”En vändpunkt var den markröntgen som genomfördes förra hösten. Inga rester av gravar syntes i marken.”
It is possible, but not proven, that graves in form of urn burials are present at the site. The detection of single urns and their identification as burial using georadar or magnetic prospection is difficult unless the area is free of other objects and unless the urn is surrounded by a large pit, ring ditch or stone structure.
In the vicinity of the stone setting a circular anomaly (diameter ~50m) was detected in both magnetometer and georadar data, containing a central, near-rectangular anomaly. This structure resembles the bronze-age mound of Skogalund. A new hypothesis is that this structure could have been an older grave mound (possibly bronze-age). Stones used for the mound could at a later point have been recycled in the now visible stone ship. This hypothesis could explain the presence of pits on the stones of Ales Stenar, some of which are now below ground surface and which therefore indicate the reuse of stones from an older monument.
Some weak structures visible in the georadar data possibly have been caused by a former stone setting to the side of the large ship, as depicted in a drawing made by Hilfeling in 1777.
One of the results of these measurements was that the near subsurface around the ship setting had been affected strongly by the restoration work undertaken in 1956 when the topsoil up to a distance of 20m from the stones had been removed, possibly destroying or damaging archaeological structures. The site had furthermore been affected by the house and watch tower built during the second world war in immediate vicinity to the northwestern stones, including an air raid shelter dug next to the monument.
The new sign at Ales Stenar presenting the archeological prospection results illustrates these with a number of fine photographs and maps. The scientific publication of the prospection results is planned for later this year/2008.